Ghana confirms two cases of Marburg Virus Disease, 98 contacts in quarantine

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has confirmed the existence of Marburg Virus Diseases (MVD) in the country, following the report of the preliminary finding of two cases from the Ashanti Region on 7th July 2022.

The results from Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research were sent to the Institute Pasteur in Dakar (IPD), Senegal with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) where they were confirmed.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the disease was suspected when two people in the Adansi North District of Ashanti Region fulfilled the case description for Acute Haemorrhagic Fever.

The statement said 98 contacts had been traced so far, including those from Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district in the Savannah Region.

It said no new cases of the virus had been detected, however, contacts identified were currently under quarantine and being monitored by the Ashanti and Savannah Regional Health Directorates of the Ghana Health Service.

Marburg virus is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever that affects both humans and primates and fruit bats are natural hosts of Marburg virus.

The virus is transmitted to people from animals and spreads among humans through human-to-human transmission from direct contact with body fluids, blood and other discharges from the affected person or animal, it said.

The incubation period for the disease is two to twenty-one days and its treatment is suggestive, the statement added.

It said the disease could be prevented by avoiding exposure to mines or caves inhabited by fruit bat colonies and all animal products such as blood and meat should be thoroughly cooked before consumption since there is currently no vaccine available.

It advised the public to avoid contact with such animals and with persons, showing the symptoms indicated, since the Marburg virus disease could also spread from an infected person to another.

Persons with suspected symptoms should report to the nearest health facility for appropriate assessment, it said.

The Ghana Health Service together with Partners including the Wildlife department at the onset of suspicion-initiated measures to reduce any risk of spread which included the isolation of all identified contacts including doctors and other healthcare workers.

Similarly, 13 of the contacts were chosen at random and evaluated at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, where all 13 tested negative for Marburg Virus, the statement said.

However, the GHS was continuing reaction efforts to avoid new incidents, while also collaborating with all appropriate agencies to guarantee that no case, if it occurs, was missed by health officials, it stated.

It noted that community activities were being strengthened with the engagement of community-based surveillance volunteers who served as eyes on the ground for the health system and reported any unusual occurrences to the GHS for further action.

The necessary additional logistics including Personal Protection Equipment have been sent to the affected districts should the need arise, it added.

The Ghana Health Service together with partners remains committed to protecting the health of the population and seeks the cooperation of all to ensure that this outbreak was contained effectively, it said.

Source: GNA

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